8 by Eight
This month's 8 by Eight list focuses on books about kindness.
A World of Kindness is a collaborative project from the Editors and Illustrators of Pajama Press. The text is a series of questions starting with "Are you kind?" and continuing with examples from "Do you wait your turn?" to "Will you be a friend to someone new?" Each spread is illustrated by a different artist and encapsulates the corresponding question. The editor's introduction includes a link to teaching guides.
Ping is a delightful and unusual book about communication. Pings, according to the picture book, are what we put out in the world. We Ping. Others Pong. We can't control the Pongs, but we can control the Pings we give out. We can Ping smiles, art, music,gestures, love. Pongs are just as important. They give us a chance to listen, learn, think, understand, empathize. The abstract language might cause some confusion with younger readers, but it could also provide whimsical vocabulary to family conversations. What did you Ping today? Any Pongs you want to talk about?
The Thank You Book is a sweet book about all the ways we can offer thanks. According to the opening pages, "Thank you isn't just for learning manners. It's also for when something wakes a little hum---a happy little hum---inside you want to answer back." Thank yous are for friends, mornings, tea, puddles, and parades. Show kindness by showering the world with thank yous.
I Am Peace is a book of mindfulness and is included here as a context to kindness. We have to pay attention, especially to ourselves, and know that when we're worried or "carried away" we can take time to be kind to ourselves, which then allows us to "share kindeness with others."
Rain is a cute story about one boy's random act of kindness. Written by Linda Ashman and illustrated by Christian Robinson, the story follows two main characters, one grumpy old man frustrated at the rain and one little boy, delighted by the rain. Each walks through the world with their respective frustrated and delightful attitudes, coloring their experiences -- nothing like wearing a frog raincoat and jumping into puddles! After a chance encounter at a cafe, the man and boy bump into each other. Harumph. The man leaves grouchy again, but the boy notices the lost hat. The boy's commitment to cheerfulness and kindness have a powerful impact on the man, who now walks through the world with a very different attitude. Lots of opportunities for acting out expressions and, of course, jumping like a frog when anyone exclaims, "Ribbit!"
Rain is also available in Spanish.
The message of Superheroes Club is "sharing is caring." Lily, an enthusiastic dresser who creates her own self-affirming song, enlists the students in her class to share, care, and help others. This book is less story and more teachable moment, but offers language for becoming your own kindness superhero and might even inspire more superhero clubs like Lily's.
I Love My Colorful Nails is another message-focused story about staying true to your self and offers opportunities for talking about empathy. Ben loves to paint his nails bright colors. Teasing at school makes him feel sad and ashamed, so he only paints his nails on weekends. Dad, however, starts to proudly wear bright colors on his nails and best friend Margarita stands up for Ben in school. On his birthday, he arrives to class and receives an unexpected surprise: everyone in class has painted their nails! What can you do to brighten someone's day? Brainstorm kindness ideas with the whole family.